Best Artist Activist

Julio Salgado

When Nicoll Hernández-Polanco, a trans woman of color, was unfairly held in solitary confinement in an all-male Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center in Arizona earlier this year, Julio Salgado didn’t waste any time in helping to raise awareness about the injustice. He immediately illustrated a poster depicting Hernández-Polanco with a slogan demanding her release, and then disseminated it on the internet. Urging action through creativity is the local artist’s automatic reaction to hearing about social inequities — especially when they happen to members of LGBTQ and undocumented communities. Salgado is also the co-creator and illustrator of “Liberty for All,” a weekly web comic published in the online publication Culture Strike, which spotlights those of marginalized identities. He’s also one of the co-founders of Dreamers Adrift (DreamersAdrift.com), an online platform for creative projects concerning the experiences of undocumented youth. Those are only a few examples of the politically engaged work that Salgado consistently puts out. Plus, he learned much of what he knows from Express Best Of winner Favianna Rodriguez.

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